The Joys of Unnaturally Flavored Sodas

Fess up, serious eaters, do you have a favorite?


I think it was a few weeks ago, when I ran into Tom Colicchio, that I found myself confessing my love for Fresca. I had seen an interview Colicchio had done in the New York Times Magazine in which he declared his love of Fresca: "Always in fridge: Fresca. It is just a great drink. No calories; tastes like citrus."

During our discussion we both acknowledged that what we loved about Fresca was its taste, even though neither of us could identify its ingredients. Hey, Colicchio is, after all, Mr. Ingredients, Mr. Craft, so it says quite a bit about Fresca if he can't tell us what's in it.

So now I know that at least two serious eaters, me and Tom Colicchio, think Fresca is pretty swell. It's more than pretty swell. It's seriously delicious, in fact.

Here is the ingredients list straight from a bottle:

  • Carbonated water
  • Citric acid
  • Concentrated grapefruit juice
  • Potassium citrate
  • Potassium Benzoate and EDTA (to protect taste)
  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Acacia
  • Natural flavors
  • Glycerol
  • Ester of wood rosin
  • Brominated vegetable oil
  • Carob bean gum

Sounds a little scary, I guess, but I'm no chemist. (And, yes, there's concentrated grapefruit juice, but not enough to add any calories.)

All I know is that it's delicious, refreshing, and more than a little citrusy, sort of.

So give it up, serious eaters. What less-than-all-natural soda can't you live without? (No colas allowed.)